Saturday, April 24, 2010

Better Late Than Never...

I'm just now trying to catch up from the two weeks I spent in bed, but... better late than never! Here are some pictures from Easter!!

The Easter Bunny was kind enough to create three different hunt areas - one for each kiddo. The Skink was very excited when she realized there were EGGS in Mimi's yard. This was her first discovery...

Check it out! There's something IN here!!

This is FUN!

Nothing cuter than a Skink, in pink, by a lake!

The hunt resumes...

A bunneh!


Broadway and Iraq, finding the goodies!!

Iraq was generally too speedy to catch, but I caught up with her for this one. Broadway, on the other hand, doesn't want anybody to know he still likes to hunt Easter eggs at 15... I can't publish any of the other shots I got of him. *sigh* Teenagers!


Friday, April 23, 2010

Hope For The Future

Tonight we took Iraq and The Skink to a big MacDonald's with an indoor play land. It had been raining on and off all day today, and both were ready to run and play. We got our food and sat down. Iraq headed off pretty quickly to go play and The Skink sat in the booth like a big girl and ate all her food. (She looked so grown up!)

After The Skink finished her meal, she wanted to go play too. She checked out the toddler area, but was soon drawn to the big slides and tunnels the older kids were playing on. I helped her climb the first part, but there were TONS of kids there which made it hard for me to stay with her. With a bit of worry, I set The Skink loose and hoped for the best.

After about 5 minutes, I realized a boy of about 8 or 9 years of age was sticking close to The Skink. He followed her about from tunnel to tunnel and gave her a boost when ever she got to a climbing area she couldn't manage on her own. Right there in public, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes as I watched the boy gently help her play... and helped her feel just like all the other kids.

I know Iraq and The Skink had a wonderful time tonight, but I'll just bet that I had the best time of all.

Even though I have a positive outlook and a lot of hope for The Skink's future, I have my moments of doubt. I have moments when I wonder how The Skink feels when she is not able to keep up with her peers. I wonder if she will be left behind and forgotten. Then... some kid shows up and takes a child he has never met before, by the hand. A child who is much younger, and clearly a bit different than the other kids. Unafraid, he moves away from the other children his age. He gently guides her through the maze, making sure the other children don't step on her, and seeing that she gets a gentle push up to the next area.

And then I know everything will be OK.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Want It MY Way!

Poor Iraq just got home from school where she did not have a very good day. Apparently she had to sit out of recess after shutting all the stall doors in the Girl's bathroom and locking them from the inside.

I think I may have mentioned before that Iraq likes everything to be lined up neatly and look orderly. I'm sure the Girl's bathroom looked much more orderly with all the doors neatly shut. When asked why she did it, she simply said she wants things her way.

This is not a first. For the past few weeks she has been saying this a lot. Each time it comes up, I explain that in order to have friends and get along in this world, we have to be willing to share - to participate in give and take. She hasn't been impressed with the concept.

At this stage, having things her way seems far more enticing than little things like, say... friends. Other people don't really seem to matter too much. Admittedly, this is just part of autism. Children in the autism spectrum can feel quite detached from social structure. Though girls in the spectrum will often mimic their peers far better than their male counterparts, it is still just mimicking. The actual desire to help and please others does not exist beyond an expression of what they have seen acted out by friends and peers.

Unfortunately, if Iraq is to make it on this planet, she is going to have to learn to mimic the natives as well as possible. She does not understand WHY this is important at this point, and I know this will be a harsh lesson to learn as time passes. I am NOT looking forward to Junior High! These years are hard even for the most "normal" of girls, let alone someone with social detachment.


Live and learn. All I can do is try to help her to the best of my abilities... whether she wants to listen to what I am telling her or not. If I just keep explaining it, maybe she can assimilate simply by acting out the behaviors I describe until she understands a little better... but then... you can lead a horse to water...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Little of This and a Little of That

Yes - It's been a while since my last blog. An unfortunate case of almost-pneumonia and then a nasty reaction to the antibiotic prescribed for the almost-pneumonia laid me low for a bit, but thankfully I seem to be on the mend now.

The weather has been lovely the past few days - cool but with plenty of sunshine. Iraq had a swim lesson yesterday and did quite well. The Skink enjoyed playing at the on-site child care center during the lesson. Iraq likes to play in the pool following the lesson. It can be very difficult to get her OUT of the pool (especially if I am not in the pool with her) but I have learned that giving her ample and regular warnings about how much time she has left to play works wonders! I generally start with a 10 minute warning, then do a 5 minute, 3 minute and 1 minute warning. I was thrilled yesterday when she got right out without a complaint when her time was up.

All three kids got their report cards this last week. Though Broadway had started the grading period in high style, he finished with one A, a flock of C's and one F. It seems the problem arose when he went to spend Passover with his paternal grandparents. I had contacted each of his teachers a week prior to his departure to ask them to make sure Broadway had all the work he would be missing at school during his trip. He brought it all home, but somehow left his entire book bag in his room when he left for his grandparents house. Grrrr... That kind of thing is VERY common for kids with ADHD. In the same way, many times in the past he has completed all his homework only to forget to take it to school and turn it in. He's quite intelligent - he's just not organized and can be very "scattered."

Now we're making him write down all his homework assignments and have the teachers initial it each day. Keep your fingers crossed that we see his consistency levels rise :o)

Iraq got 3 A's and 3 B's. Not too shabby. As a reward, she got to pick where we went to dinner on Friday night. She chose IHOP - - a GREAT choice considering kids eat free at dinner time! What a smart kid!!

The Skink also brought home a report card. It was basically a great heap of papers bearing an uncanny resemblance to her IEP. Most of the listed skills were marked with "Satisfactory" marks, a few were marked as "Mastered" and 3 - 4 were labeled "Insufficient." "Insufficient" is like Fail, I suppose, but I have to laugh that someone would give a 3-year-old failing grades. Now let's see... She received "Insufficient" marks in the following skills:
- The Skink will match primary colors "red, blue, green, yellow" after sorting has been demonstrated by an adult, 3 out of 5 times by 3/15/2011.
- The Skink will walk throughout a crowded classroom with no more than 2 falls each day while maneuvering around objects in her path by 3/15/2011. (Really?? She's not allowed to fall more than 2ce a day... and someone is going to watch her for the purpose of counting her falls??)
AND... much to my artistic chagrin, she apparently "failed" in the "purposeful" scribbling with crayons department - LOL!

I'm really not worried... I'll bet by the time she goes to college she'll know how to draw with crayons and walk through a crowded room without falling.

In light of The Skink's grades, she got to accompany us to IHOP, where she asked for, "Bacon, pancake, egg!" She devoured her entire meal as did big sister Iraq. Broadway was not excluded from the dinner, of course... he ordered steak!

I should also mention that I haven't killed Iraq's garden yet. I have discovered that peas don't like a lot of direct sunlight or heat, so they are now residing on the shady front porch. Our strawberry plant has a flower, and we're growing some of our tomatoes upside-down just for the heck of it! To avoid pests (and hopefully the use of pesticides) we are growing a number of veggies in containers, but we did put the cantaloupe plants, lettuce plants and some of the great number of tomatoes that sprouted, in the ground.

Here are some pics of a few of the things we've had "growing on" lately.



Upside-down tomatoes:

So... we'll see what happens. I'm just hoping we get a few edible tomatoes and veggies for Iraq to feel proud of.

Have a great day!!